LETTER: Please Behave

Please Behave by Victoria C. Newman

I have been closely monitoring the reopening of Connecticut and other states across this country for a variety of reasons. I am a stakeholder in the education space and care deeply about the students and families we serve as well as our larger community. I also have two daughters, one a rising freshman in college (who, along with many other high school seniors around the country and world, has been robbed of prom and graduation) and the other a rising senior in college. We are all sacrificing important milestones and events as we follow guidance from our local and state officials. I find it gut-wrenching to watch people carry on with their lives as if we were not in a pandemic. I am one of the lucky ones; we are healthy and have all of the things we need to survive and thrive in this new normal. We even moved after 17+ years in mid-April in the middle of this pandemic. I have enormous gratitude for the frontline health care workers, doctors, nurses, teachers, and everyone else who is keeping our country running and risking their lives to save others. It is truly remarkable. 

There are stories of gratitude everywhere and many silver linings like more family time, rushing less, and other wonderful stories of hope and inspiration despite the tough facts and figures that continue to be released on a daily basis. Like many of you, I watch Governor Lamont’s almost daily press conference in the evening after work and also read fast and furiously the ever-changing landscape in PreK-12 education, as well as in higher education. The think tank work that is being done by various organizations like the EMA, NAIS, OESIS, IECA, and bloggers like Jennifer Gonzalez is amazing. They, along with many other organizations, are all working on blended/hybrid learning models for students this fall with the best and brightest minds in the field of education.

So why am I writing this article? With these signs of hope, why do I remain so disturbed and unsettled? What is it about people not understanding that their behavior today affects everyone’s tomorrow? I see the pictures of people in different parts of the US ignoring the safety protocols outlined by the CDC and gathering without masks, ignoring social distancing, and hygiene guidelines. This is happening at water parks, beaches, music festivals, and houses of worship as well as other places.  

I know my girls, their friends, and other students and parents around the US are craving a normal fall entry back into school. Many people are sending the wrong message to Generation Alpha and Generation Z, students that are between the ages of 1-25 years of age.

In order for America’s children, who are our futures, to continue the important process of learning, growing, and interacting with their peers please obey the CDC Guidelines.

We need to set a good example for our children and be part of the solution and not part of the problem. This is not the time to be lax, because our behavior will have a major impact on the next generation and generations to come. Please behave!